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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My pup is now 11 weeks old. He is getting much better on his mouthing issues with the exception of one. I know it is him playing and wanting to wrestle, but no matter how tired he is, if I lay down on the couch while he is napping on his bed or even on the other side of the couch, if my head gets to close to the floor while training or playing tug or fetch. He will go into "Attack" mode and jump up at me, trying to grab my hair, ears or even neck. The other day a family member and I was playing the come game with him. He was doing so well and was all excited to go running back and forth between us. One time he came back to me and jumped into my chest and bit my neck out of excitement. Not enough to break skin but it still hurt. I have never "Punished" him and have no plans to start, but I am curious the best way to address this issue. I have tried standing and ignoring him, adjusting his attention elsewhere and go into training mode and after a sit or down give him a treat to show that doing something other than that would give him a reward, the worst he has gotten when he just wouldn't stop was a time out for 5 min in the boring laundry room. He came back out a little calmer and we started playing again but once I get to close to the ground he goes at it again.

Thanks for the advice
 

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The best thing is for a time out in another safe room where he can settle. This is not a punshiment. It's teaching him to self-regulate. Giving him treats is just training him that if he does a bad behavior then stops he will be rewarded.
 

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Depends on the pups drives and temperament somewhat but a time out is most certainly punishment as you are taking something away from the dog which the dog was enjoying even if the human wasn't enjoying it. Negative punishment is generally described as " Negative punishment is the act of taking away something the dog wants as a way to decrease unwanted behavior.", kind of sounds like a time out huh? Adding to that, you are isolating the dog from its human which in my opinion is even worse as the companionship ( bond ) between human and dog is the goal, isn't it? Time outs especially when the pup is craving interaction with its human and the pup knows the human is on the other side of the door in the room it is isolated in doesn't seem to be reward hence it is punishment.

Your pup at 11 weeks is just beginning to learn acceptable behavior from unacceptable behavior but most importantly a bond is being developed, so isolating a pup from its human seems incredibly counterproductive.

Your pup's desire to jump and bite are remnants from it's interaction with it litter mates and needs to be modified obviously. Perhaps, try being 2 steps ahead of your pup and recognize when this undesirable behavior is most apt to happen and be proactive by not giving the pup a chance to latch onto your head, hair and throat. FWIW, a human on the ground ( or same level ) is much more likely to incite a pup into rougher play, which is fine if one wants to rough house and all but it is body posturing on behalf of the human which indulges this behavior in a young pup. I'd use your verbal markers ( both positive and negative) along with rewarding to educate the pup as to what is acceptable. Timing of your markers is crucial, especially with a pup. I also might use a very light line/leash on the pup during this play time and let the pup drag it around and if you sense the pup will jump just put your foot on the leash so when the pup tries to jump it will be restricted at a point during its attempt accompanied with your negative verbal marker.
 

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Separating a dog from an owner is neutral. Punishment is way more than "not rewarding" It's vital that separation is done in a calm manner and without any anger. Anger, words, vocalizations, etc, are punishment. The puppy is craving not simply attention but vestibular feedback. Ensuring the dog cannot get that feedback is an important part of regulation.

Adult dogs will remove themselves from the room when puppies get nipppy. My own dog was nipped (quite badly) by my brother's puppy. She walked away and I opened the baby gate so she was isolated from the puppy. The puppy never nipped her again.

Removing the dog (or yourself) from a nippy situation is exactly how nature deals with the problem of a nippy puppy.
 

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Separating a dog from an owner is neutral.
Not true. What is aversive is what the DOG considers aversive. It is not up to the human to decide what is punishing... the dog dictates what is punishing.

Comparing what other dogs do is irrelevant to the human/dog relationship. We are not dogs, and our puppies know that.

Removing yourself from the room can be an effective method, but whether the pup considers that punishment is individual. My GSD pup would feel punished no matter how calmly I removed myself.

@SaithRashul, asking him to do something else and earn a reinforcer is great, A+. Keep that up. Dogs repeat behaviors that we reinforce. You can also redirect him to a toy and play with that to encourage him to bite the appropriate toys instead of you. If you do that every time he bites/mouths you he will soon learn that to play he must grab a toy first.
 

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So, if you choose to operate via nature's examples, are you an advocate of biting a pup when they get too nippy as does the mother at times??
Good grief. :eyeroll: We can take some lessons from nature without taking all of them. I do advocate for a calm down physical barrier. It's not punitive, it's natural. We have more resources as humans than to bite dogs, some of these being not only physical size but intelligence. For instance, the mother's bite is a physical warning. Just because we have teeth dosn't mean that we need to physically warn our dogs with them.
 

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Good grief. :eyeroll: We can take some lessons from nature without taking all of them. I do advocate for a calm down physical barrier. It's not punitive, it's natural. We have more resources as humans than to bite dogs, some of these being not only physical size but intelligence. For instance, the mother's bite is a physical warning. Just because we have teeth dosn't mean that we need to physically warn our dogs with them.
Okay. I get it. You subscribe to "nature's way" when it agrees with you and do not subscribe when it disagrees with you. Mother dogs do at times mouth their pups on the muzzle or other areas along with the show of teeth or a growl perhaps when the pup gets overzealous but I have never seen a mother dog isolate a pup in a "time out" simply because they do not have the ability unless the human facilitates the action such as you described with the use of a baby gate. Yes, a mother might get up and walk away from a biting nipping pup but never do they put the pup in isolation, this is a human creation and by no means "nature's way" Can a mother ignore a pup? Yes but how exactly do they isolate a pup in what we call a "time out"?

Anyway, I have seen enough examples of high drive dogs being put in a "time out" and simply come out of the "time out" more revved up, ready to continue the behavior which earned them the "time out".

Does ignoring or timing out a pup work, I believe it does AT times but it is specific to the dog as Gillandi mentioned. It is not a universal remedy by any means and a form of punishment to certain dogs and that was my point.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Wow, I wasn't expecting a big debate. :p Thank you all for your replies.

a time out is most certainly punishment as you are taking something away from the dog which the dog was enjoying even if the human wasn't enjoying it.
I put in the original post a set of parentheses around punishment in hopes that it would emphasize on the type of punishment. I agree that a time out is a form of punishment and would prefer not to use it. He did calm down after, but I still don't like doing it. the punishment I was talking about that I don't and wont do is the spanking the rear, smacking the nose, holding the muzzle closed and all around the "He who must not be named" TV personality that is just an absolute horrible person who thinks he knows something about dogs.

Your pup's desire to jump and bite are remnants from it's interaction with it litter mates and needs to be modified obviously. Perhaps, try being 2 steps ahead of your pup and recognize when this undesirable behavior is most apt to happen and be proactive by not giving the pup a chance to latch onto your head, hair and throat.
It is difficult to try and be ahead of it sometimes. I could remove the temptation by staying in a proper seated or standing position. however I want to try and train this behavior out of him. I would like to lay with him when we take naps and such. right now however even if he is napping on the floor on his bed and I place my head on the couch, I will have a face full of puppy and the hair/throat/ear biting begins.

@SaithRashul, asking him to do something else and earn a reinforcer is great, A+. Keep that up. Dogs repeat behaviors that we reinforce. You can also redirect him to a toy and play with that to encourage him to bite the appropriate toys instead of you. If you do that every time he bites/mouths you he will soon learn that to play he must grab a toy first.
Thanks, I learned that from Zak George. I really like his training methods and am trying to follow his way of training. I do sometimes try and redirect him to a toy as well but sometimes he is just to amped to play with me. I know the nipping and biting are all in fun to him and can see his smile and wiggly butt. I'm just trying to train him out of the going after skin and hair.

So, if you choose to operate via nature's examples, are you an advocate of biting a pup when they get too nippy as does the mother at times??
Hahahaha, well I have braces right now so I wouldn't want to try that. Maybe after I get them off. ;) JK of coarse.


Anyway, thank you all for the replies. I will keep doing my best to be a positive influence over him and do as little negative as possible. I do try and always keep my voice in either a calm or happy state with him and am still working on that as well. I just want to be a great puppy parent and raise a well rounded, sound companion.
 

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Wow, I wasn't expecting a big debate. :p Thank you all for your replies.



I put in the original post a set of parentheses around punishment in hopes that it would emphasize on the type of punishment. I agree that a time out is a form of punishment and would prefer not to use it. He did calm down after, but I still don't like doing it. the punishment I was talking about that I don't and wont do is the spanking the rear, smacking the nose, holding the muzzle closed and all around the "He who must not be named" TV personality that is just an absolute horrible person who thinks he knows something about dogs.

Good. You never want to hit or shout at a puppy ever. For that matter you do not want to teach a puppy NOT to bite, otherwise you are going to end up with big trouble down the line. Puppies grow out of the biting phase much like human babies grow out of putting everything in their mouths. Also, I have to call you out on what you wrote about CM, I don't believe for one second that he is an "absolute horrible person", misguided, yes, but horrible no.


It is difficult to try and be ahead of it sometimes. I could remove the temptation by staying in a proper seated or standing position. however I want to try and train this behavior out of him. I would like to lay with him when we take naps and such. right now however even if he is napping on the floor on his bed and I place my head on the couch, I will have a face full of puppy and the hair/throat/ear biting begins.

I am sure you do this but when your puppy bites, just say ow, not in an angry, confrontational way, just as though you are in pain. Getting down to his level, ie lying on the couch is an invitation to play, and when puppies play they bite each other, it's what they do. If he gets over excited just sit up, or deflect him with a ball or have him sit for a treat.


Thanks, I learned that from Zak George. I really like his training methods and am trying to follow his way of training. I do sometimes try and redirect him to a toy as well but sometimes he is just to amped to play with me. I know the nipping and biting are all in fun to him and can see his smile and wiggly butt. I'm just trying to train him out of the going after skin and hair.

If he is too amped to be redirected then simply stop interacting with him.


<snip>


Anyway, thank you all for the replies. I will keep doing my best to be a positive influence over him and do as little negative as possible. I do try and always keep my voice in either a calm or happy state with him and am still working on that as well. I just want to be a great puppy parent and raise a well rounded, sound companion.
Sounds like a plan!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Also, I have to call you out on what you wrote about CM, I don't believe for one second that he is an "absolute horrible person", misguided, yes, but horrible no.
I will except your call out and even apologize for my statement. I have never met him in person so I can't truly say what kind of person he is. I just hate his methods of the "Alpha Dog" and "Dominance" old fashion way of training. Also how people who haven't done any research of their own fawn over him and say "he is the best dog trainer in the world, he has his own TV show, he must be right." It might just be my ignorant way of thinking and I am more than willing to admit that if it is the case. I do apologize for that statement and thanks for all your other input as well.
 

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I agree that a time out is a form of punishment and would prefer not to use it.

It might be in some instances but I have no problem with time outs as long as it is appropriate for the dog and doesn't cause more harm than good. I just think too many people make blanket statements at times and many people might sign on to a method which might not be right for their particular dog(s). I think Gillandi said it best, " What is aversive is what the DOG considers aversive. It is not up to the human to decide what is punishing... the dog dictates what is punishing. " This makes great sense to me anyway.



It is difficult to try and be ahead of it sometimes. I could remove the temptation by staying in a proper seated or standing position. however I want to try and train this behavior out of him. I would like to lay with him when we take naps and such. right now however even if he is napping on the floor on his bed and I place my head on the couch, I will have a face full of puppy and the hair/throat/ear biting begins.

I hear ya but the old saying about setting a dog up for success might come into play here by not indulging the pup's unacceptable behavior. I'm somewhat like you where I have enjoyed playing with my pups at their level on the ground and of course been mugged by them as everything seems like fair game to the pup. However when it would get too rough or mouthy I'd verbally let the pup know it with my exaggerated responses to those puppy needle teeth and bring a halt to the play. They figured it out over time.
 

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What about when going "ow" or yelping, yipping whatever just makes the puppy more excited and bitey?
Either deflect with a ball or toy or make puppy sit for a treat. If he is still hyper then ignore.

If you say "ow" correctly, ie get across that you are hurt and not angry at the dog, the puppy will likely lick you instead.

So...hold a small amount of coconut oil (extra virgin) in your hand and hold your hand out to the puppy, fingers closed for the pup to sniff. The puppy will likely paw at your hand or lick at it. If he licks, open your hand and let him lick at the coconut oil and say "lick, lick" as he is licking. Do this two or three times and then next time you hold out your hand say "lick" and the puppy will probably start licking your hand automatically. Whenever the puppy gets in a bitey mood have him lick you instead.

Again if he can't calm, then he is too wound up and he needs a time-out. A puppy's desire for contact is very strong so he should quickly learn to moderate his bitey behavior.
 

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ok...so, giving a time-out is punishment, punishing a dog is bad...but sometimes time-outs are ok? I'm a bit confused did I miss something?

Also about the coconut oil and treats. Lets say you are on your laptop and puppy is playing or chewing a toy, then gets bored and romps over and starts biting your hand. I'm assuming most dog owners don't always keep coconut oil and treats within reach at all times? Maybe we should? So the owner gets up to fetch the treats or oil...the dog realizes this, and stops being naughty and follows us to the cupboard to get his treat. Did he really learn not to bite his persons hands when his person is busy from that? I'm really not trying to be snarky I just question how practical the coconut oil or treat or redirecting to a toy really are when you are being bit by a crazy puppy and none of those items are within reach? You have to get up and stop what you're doing to entertain the puppy. Which really means, when puppy bites you you get up and do something nice for him? That doesn't sound good.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
So far an ow or a yip just makes him jump towards the noise more lol. I end up getting a nose nip or something along that. I found out I can't yawn in front of him either, even if I am sitting on the couch and he is chewing his bone on the floor or if I am standing, if I have a big yawn he jumps and barks. he has been doing well with not biting the hand its more from the neck up I am having problems with.
 

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Well.... I wouldn't put my face so close to the puppy that he can bite my nose. And you could always cover your mouth when you yawn and try not to do it loudly. Honestly, he is a puppy and will outgrow this phase pretty quickly. You just have to manage it until then.
 
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